Men's Basketball grabs key Big 12 win over Missouri
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Jason Klotz scored six straight points in the key scoring run to open the second half and Texas grabbed a key Big 12 win with a 63-51 victory over Missouri.
Kenny Taylor scored 20 points for Texas (19-8, 8-6), which guaranteed at least a .500 regular-season finish in the Big 12. While that mark won't ensure the Longhorns a seventh consecutive NCAA tournament bid, it was considered a necessary benchmark.
Jason Conley scored 15 points to lead Missouri (14-14, 6-8).
Klotz finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, none bigger than his three straight baskets at the start of the second half. Texas used a 13-0 run to shake off a dismal 6-of-32 shooting performance in the first.
The Longhorns made just two baskets over the final 13:48 of the first half and trailed 25-24 at the break.
Dion Dowell made sure he couldn't miss the first shot of the second. Daniel Gibson grabbed a Missouri turnover and fired a pass to Dowell, who threw down a two-handed dunk that gave the Longhorns the lead.
Then it seemed like Texas couldn't miss. Taylor hit a 3-pointer and Klotz, who was 2-of-8 in the first half, hit a layup and stepped away from the basket to swish two jumpers as the Longhorns opened a 37-25 lead. Texas hit 12 of 17 shots in the second.
Klotz's 3-point play with 9:51 left made it 47-33 before Missouri rallied behind three consecutive 3-pointers that cut it to 49-42.
Taylor then hit two of his four 3-pointers, including one from deep on the left wing just before the shot block buzzer that snuffed the rally with just under two minutes to play.
ON THE SECOND HALF: Daniel (Gibson) did a great job being patient. Jason (Klotz) played terrific. The first five minutes of the second half being able to play with Jason and Brad (Buckman) was crucial. We had Dion (Dowell) playing inside for the first time and he did really well. Missouri's defense was good. They're playing for a lot as well this time of year. They came in and really got aggressive. They were well prepared. They worked hard trying to get the ball out of Daniel's hands. When that happens, other guys have to get it and be willing to handle the ball.
Freshman guard Daniel Gibson
ON JASON KLOTZ AND KENNY TAYLOR: Jason was unbelievable. I said we needed to keep getting the ball to him and feed off of him. We got momentum and took it from there. Kenny was playing as a veteran that had been there before. He stepped up and it was huge. We needed that. He knocked down the shot at the end of the shot clock.
Senior center Jason Klotz
ON THE SECOND HALF: We got the steal and Dion had a dunk. I had open looks and knocked them down. I played physical with the ball taking it to the guys.
ON THE GAME: We had a lot of open shots, but we missed a lot of those shots. That took away our cushion. Fouls were definitely an issue, but that happens when you have a physical game. I think we are playing better basketball. We are playing with more confidence, but we just made too many mistakes and that's frustrating.
Senior Guard Jason Conley
ON MISSOURI'S PLAY: We played very physical and that took them to the free throw line a lot. That's just how it is on the road. We have been effective in the past when we go to the rim more. We just need to understand who we are and know what works for us. Tonight we just came up short.
Sophomore Center Linas Kleiza